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There’s no doubt that working from home is now a totally acceptable practice in most organisations. Most employers are now inviting their people to achieve a good work-life balance with a hybrid working approach, spending some time working in an office with colleagues and some working from home.
Others have moved to a fully remote working model, using technology for collaboration and teamwork.
But how well have you adapted to a work from home job? Are you getting as much done as you would in an office? Or are you finding it hard to separate work life from home life?
We’ve spoken to seasoned home workers to get their advice on how to work from home.
We have gathered eight ‘how to work at home’ tips to make sure you’re reaping the benefits of a more flexible workstyle.
While it was OK to have your laptop on the kitchen table during lockdown, if you’re now working from home for the long term, it pays to create a proper work environment.
There are certain health and safety elements to this – like having a proper desk and chair set at appropriate heights to avoid strain and injury. Make sure you have proper monitors at eye level to protect your neck, too.
Try to create a physical boundary between work and home. The ideal is to have a discrete home office, where you can close the door on your workspace at the end of the day.
If you lack the space for that, make sure there’s clear separation between work papers, technology etc and the detritus of family life. You need to be able to focus completely while in your workspace.
If you want to be taken seriously you have to make sure you can work seamlessly with others on a remote basis. You need technology to stay connected, and you will need a variety of tools to collaborate effectively.
Good WiFi speed is crucial – so if you need to upgrade, do it. Don’t risk missing key moments of a video call or losing your connection during an important presentation to a client.
All these investments have a cost attached, so if your workplace isn’t paying for the equipment you need, talk to your manager about potential payment. After all, remote workers are saving their employers money on facilities, energy and office space.
One of the most distracting things about working from home is being disturbed by others. You may find that your partner, children or wider family are constantly calling, texting, entering your home office or demanding your attention in other ways. Nip these distractions in the bud – be clear that you’re working and should only be disturbed in an emergency.
Your colleagues will know when and how to reach you if you set a regular work timetable, and you’ll benefit from the structure and routine too.
One of the beauties of working from home is that you can allow for your needs and lifestyle. You might choose to start working early in the morning so that you can take a good break over lunch for a run, an exercise class or a coffee with a friend.
Or you may need to fit work hours around the school run – just block time out in your diary and explain that’s how you need to structure your day.
When people work in an office, there are natural breaks throughout the day – a colleague wanders over for a chat, you head off to a meeting or you decide to go out and buy lunch.
At home it can be all too easy to sit at your desk for hours on end. This is bad for your body and mind, so be ruthless about taking regular breaks. Even if you’re just taking five minutes to hang out your laundry, it will help you stay productive. Always take a proper break for lunch – go for a walk if you can – and never eat at your computer.
The pandemic taught us that isolation is a big issue for homeworkers – we’re social creatures after all. Hybrid working is a good way around this, but if you’re mainly home based, seek out face to face interaction. A video call to a colleague is always a more positive experience than sending an email or instant message.
It really helps to have voice or video contact with your team at least weekly, and try to meet up in person on a regular basis.
For more insights into how to work from home, see this article.